World / Asia-Pacific

Record number of drug-related arrests made in Australia

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-15 10:38

CANBERRA - A record number of drugs were seized in Australia in 2013-14, resulting in a record number of arrests, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) announced Friday.

The ACC's Illicit Drug Data Report 2013-14 showed Australian law enforcement agencies seized a record 27 tonnes of illicit drugs in 93,000 seizures and made more than 110,000 arrests.

A day after the first community consultations began for the national taskforce on crystal meth-amphetamine, also known as ice, the ACC report showed arrests and seizures for amphetamine-type stimulants had risen by 18.4 percent and 27.3 percent respectively.

Cannabis remained the substance which resulted in the most arrests - 66,684 - the highest number on record. More than seven tonnes of the drug was confiscated across 53,404 seizures.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the price many pay for illicit drugs makes the Australian market lucrative for international crime syndicates.

"Australians pay top dollar for illicit substances," he said in a statement on Friday. "Making bad life choices to not only bankroll criminal networks that profit from the misery and havoc drugs inflict on our communities, but ensure our nation remains a lucrative market and target for dangerous international crime syndicates."

Keenan said illegal drugs users could be unknowingly contributing funds for thefts, robberies, assaults, family violence, deaths and "even terrorism".

"There is a perception among some drug users that their drug use hurts no one," he said. "But the impact of illicit drug use should never be underestimated."

The ACC report also showed 744 clandestine laboratories were detected, including 89 found in vehicles.

The record 27.3 tonnes of illicit drugs seized nationally was significantly boosted by a single 10 tonne seizure of benzaldehyde in May 2013. It was estimated the chemical, an ingredient in meth- amphetamine, was capable of producing product worth $400 million.

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